A magnetic nanocomposite film with the capability of reversibly collecting functionalized magnetic particles was fabricated by simultaneously imposing two orthogonal stimuli (electrical and magnetic). We demonstrate that cathodic codeposition of chitosan and Fe3O4 nanoparticles while simultaneously applying a magnetic field during codeposition can (i) organize structure, (ii) confer magnetic properties, and (iii) yield magnetic films that can perform reversible collection/assembly functions. The magnetic field triggered the self-assembly of Fe3O4 nanoparticles into hierarchical "chains" and "fibers" in the chitosan film. For controlled magnetic properties, the Fe3O4-chitosan film was electrodeposited in the presence of various strength magnetic fields and different deposition times. The magnetic properties of the resulting films should enable broad applications in complex devices. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate the reversible capture and release of green fluorescent protein (EGFP)-conjugated magnetic microparticles by the magnetic chitosan film. Moreover, antibody-functionalized magnetic microparticles were applied to capture cells from a sample, and these cells were collected, analyzed, and released by the magnetic chitosan film, paving the way for applications such as reusable biosensor interfaces (e.g., for pathogen detection). To our knowledge, this is the first report to apply a magnetic field during the electrodeposition of a hydrogel to generate magnetic soft matter. Importantly, the simple, rapid, and reagentless fabrication methodologies demonstrated here are valuable features for creating a magnetic device interface.
Keywords: biosensor interface; electrodeposition; magnetic nanoparticles; magnetization; nanocomposite film; reversible collection; self-assembly.